Skip to Content

12 Different Types of Fireplaces for Your Home

Photo collage of different type of fireplaces

Table of Contents Show

Quicklist: Types of Fireplaces

1. Electric Fireplace
2. Gas Fireplace
3. Gel Fireplace
4. Ethanol Fireplace
5. Wood-Burning Fireplace
6. Traditional Open-Hearth Fireplace
7. Free-Standing Fireplace
8. Wall-Mounted Fireplace
9. Built-In Fireplace Insert
10. Tabletop Fireplace
11. Hanging Fireplace
12. Two-Sided Fireplace

Here is our ultimate guide to buying a fireplace for your home. While on the face of it a fireplace may seem run-of-the-mill, the fact of the matter is there are a ton of options. We set them out below.

Having a fireplace in your home is fantastic. In fact, you can have fireplaces in multiple rooms in your home. While many jurisdictions have banned wood fireplaces in new homes, they can be nice in a nostalgic sort of fashion. Truth be told, gas fireplaces are far more convenient and environmentally friendly.

We have one wood-burning fireplace and one gas fireplace. For now, the wood-burning fireplace in our living room is great because our five-year-old loves building fires, but once that tires we’ll have wished we had a gas fireplace in our living room. Our gas fireplace is in the basement and it’s never used.

Grab a cup of coffee and learn all about your fireplace options in our epic consumer guide.

Related: Kitchen with Fireplace | Where to Buy Electric Fireplaces Online | Does a Floating Shelf Above a Fireplace Look Good | Bathrooms with Fireplace

Different Types of Fireplaces 

Several major decisions must be made early on when buying a fireplace.

Chief among these are fuel type and mounting options. These choices then dictate your fireplace design, including style, dimensions and materials used.

In addition to the fireplace itself, you can also choose from a vast selection of mantels, chimneys, and flues.

A. What’s the Most Popular Type of Fireplace?

Here’s a chart illustrating how popular the different types are relative to one another:

The following is based on 190,244 rooms with fireplaces. This dataset is from fireplaces in all rooms (i.e. not just living rooms). Unfortunately, our data didn’t include all the different types of fireplaces we’ve identified in this article; however, we included this chart nevertheless because we consider it helpful.

A table presenting exact percentages of how common the various types are:

  • Corner: 5.22%
  • Hanging: 1.20%
  • Ribbon: 6.95%
  • Standard: 77.87%
  • Two-Sided: 5.74%
  • Wood-Stove: 3.01%

B. Fireplace Fuel Types

Your first decision when buying a fireplace is fuel type.

The fuel type you choose dictates the best mounting option and overall design, as well as the best place to locate the fireplace.

The main options for fuel types are electric, gas, gel, ethanol and wood.

1. Electric Fireplace

A mother and her child enjoying their electric fireplace.

Electric fireplaces are quickly catching on as the most popular fuel type available. In fact, if you’re serious about an electric fireplace, you might consider an efficient infrared fireplace.

They create warmth by heating interior coils with electricity. Most models come with an internal fan to better distribute heat throughout your home.

Given that there is no real flame inside an electric fireplace, they employ a “fake” flame to give them a lifelike look and feel. It’s common for the flickering flame to be paired with a crackling “fake” log.

If your home gets too warm, most electric fireplace models allow you to turn off the heating element while keeping the flickering flame on to maintain the cozy ambiance.

Better yet, your electric fireplace can be controlled from the comfort of your chair. Most models come with a remote to increase or decrease temperature as well as to turn the fireplace on or off.

The biggest benefit of an electric fireplace is its overall cost-effectiveness. Not only are they among the most affordable options available, they’re also the cheapest to install (since they don’t require venting).

Furthermore, unlike wood and gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces don’t require the usual maintenance, such as tasks like chopping wood, cleaning the chimney, or inspecting the gas line.

Yet another benefit of buying an electric fireplace is safety. They’re hands down the safest model for homes with small children or pets.

Finally, electric fireplaces are highly customizable. In addition to a number of sub-models of the fireplace itself, the flame and fire effects can also be customized.

2. Gas Fireplace

Front view of a gas fireplace in a mansion.

Gas fireplaces are another popular alternative to traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

Like electric fireplaces, they’re a low-cost option that’s usually easy to install. Built-in options can be installed with little reconstruction to an existing built-in fireplace and chimney.

At the same time that they’re affordable upfront, gas fireplaces are also highly efficient. They’re a good choice to save money on your overall heating utilities bills.

Alternatively, you can opt for a free-standing gas fireplace that utilizes a pipe. This enables you to install your fireplace in any room, not just those that already are set up to receive a fireplace.

Direct-vented models require a chimney for ventilation. This can be a pre-existing chimney (such as one previously used for a wood fireplace) or a new chimney can be constructed.

A pipe, as mentioned above, is another option that limits changes to your home’s structure.

Ventless models don’t require a chimney, pipe, or another vent. These come with numerous features to promote overall safety.

Despite burning clear for the most part, they still pose the slight risk of emitting contaminants into your home.

Your final option when it comes to gas fireplaces is the type of gas used. Your two options are natural gas or liquid propane.

A natural gas fireplace can utilize an existing gas line. A propane fireplace, on the other hand, requires a propane tank. Both options necessitate a line installed between the fireplace and fuel source.

3. Gel Fireplace

Zoom in photo of a alcohol gel fireplace.

Gel fireplaces are much less popular than electric or gas fireplaces but have their own benefits.

At the top of the list is their ease of installation. All a gel fireplace requires for use is a can filled with gel fuel. This means no venting, lines, pipes, or electrical wires are required.

The fact that a gel fireplace is self-contained makes them extra versatile. This model is often lightweight enough to safely mount on a wall.

Another highlight of a gel fireplace is that the flame is real. You light the gel fuel can with a lighter to create an actual burn.

On the other hand, the fuel type combined with this type of flame means that heat output is minimal. You don’t want to rely on a gel fireplace as your primary source of heat.

The gel fuel cans required to use a gel fireplace can also be expensive.

4. Ethanol Fireplace


An ethanol fireplace is very similar to a gel fireplace, except that it uses a liquid clean-burning bioethanol fuel instead of a gel fuel.

Most ethanol fireplaces contain a burner that can be filled with the bioethanol fuel for easy repeated use. Two liters is the standard size for the fuel tank.

The burner enables you to adjust the temperature of the fireplace (unlike a gel fireplace). It also allows you to easily turn the fireplace off and on.

Like gel fireplaces, an ethanol fireplace is easy to install but isn’t very efficient. You don’t want to rely on yours to heat your entire home.

Another characteristic they share with gel fireplaces is their versatility. Their lightweight makes them an excellent choice for a wall-mounted fireplace or a tabletop fireplace.

Ethanol fireplaces are quickly growing in popularity thanks to the wide variety of designs available.

5. Wood-Burning Fireplace

Frontview of a wood burning fireplace.

Good old wood-burning fireplaces are the most traditional type of fireplace.
In fact, some form of a wood-burning fireplace is what humans have been using to stay warm for millennia.

Chances are the image of a wood-burning fireplace is what pops into your head when you think about a fireplace to begin with.

As the name implies, a wood-burning fireplace burns wood to create heat. Though a crackling or roaring fire is the result, this heat source comes with its share of downsides.

The biggest downside to wood-burning fireplaces is cost and maintenance. They’re expensive to install, buying wood adds up, and professional cleaning is required on a regular basis.

Yet for all the downsides, many people love wood-burning fireplaces. They create a cozy, rustic atmosphere in any space, and a lot of people like the smoky scent.

Wood-burning fireplaces come in several styles. Though not strictly a fireplace, wood-burning stoves are a great alternative to those that don’t have space for a fireplace.

Wood-burning stoves can be used nearly anywhere in a home, with much the same effect as a fireplace. However, they do require a pipe (instead of a chimney) for venting out smoke.

C. Types of Fireplace Mounting Options

After you select the best fuel type for your needs and preferences, it’s time to pick your favorite mounting option.

Note that not all mounting options work with all fuel types. For instance, a wood-burning fireplace is much too large for mounting on the wall.

The main mounting options are traditional, free-standing, wall-mounted, built-in, tabletop, hanging and two-sided.

1. Traditional Open-Hearth Fireplace

A traditional open-hearth fireplace in a traditional modern mansion.

Also known as an open-hearth fireplaces, wood-burning fireplaces are usually made out of stone or brick and are built into your home’s wall. They utilize a chimney and flue for ventilation.

A traditional fireplace is the most expensive mounting option. If you don’t already have one installed in your home, it’s going to take a lot of construction to properly build one.

For this reason, most people pass on a traditional open-hearth fireplace unless their home was originally constructed with one.

2. Free-Standing Fireplace

A luxurious free standing fireplace with a cute dog on the carpet.

A free-standing option is a great alternative to a traditional open-hearth fireplace.

They usually include a mantel and are designed to mimic the looks of a traditional built-in fireplace.

Depending on the type of fuel used, your free-standing fireplace can be completely free-standing or attached to the wall or ceiling (for ventilation).

Electric free-standing models that don’t require ventilation can actually be moved around while redecorating. Gas free-standing fireplaces that require ventilation or a gas line should probably stay in the same place.

Free-standing fireplaces come in numerous designs, ranging from contemporary to modern to rustic. They also come in various shapes and sizes.

Another option for a free-standing fireplace is furniture that contains a built-in fireplace, such as an entertainment center.

The entertainment center has a built-in fireplace on the bottom (almost always electric). Your TV can then sit on the mantel (without worry of damage).

These built-in furniture fireplaces are a great option for those living in small homes or apartments.

3. Wall-Mounted Fireplace

A close up photo of a wall mounted fireplace.

A wall-mounted fireplace is another common option for those with small homes or apartments.

The fireplace style is also growing in popularity for use in outdoor spaces. Some self-contained wall-mounted fireplaces can even be moved from room to room as needed.

There are two subtypes of wall-mounted fireplaces: those that need to be connected to a chimney and those that don’t. The type you get depends on what type of fuel you use.

Wall-mounted fireplaces come in dozens of shapes, styles and sizes. One popular style these days is the long type which is called a ribbon fireplace. You can buy one with or without a mantel.

Many people use a wall-mounted fireplace as the focal point of their room. It’s a great centerpiece if you don’t have a television.

4. Built-In Fireplace Insert

A built-in inserted fireplace in a luxurious mansion.

A fireplace insert utilizes an already built-in traditional fireplace.

If your home has an open-hearth wood-burning fireplace, you can buy an electric, gas, gel, or ethanol insert that simply slides into the current opening.

This is an excellent way to convert a high-maintenance wood-burning fireplace into a lower-maintenance, more energy-efficient fireplace that uses an alternative fuel type.

The nice thing about fireplace inserts is that they utilize your current space. You can build off these traditional aesthetics or select a model with a more modern style.

5. Tabletop Fireplace

A small table top fireplace on a balcony table.

Tabletop fireplaces are ultra-lightweight portable fireplaces that can be easily moved from room to room.

Their most common use is to heat outdoor spaces. Set yours on a tabletop to keep your guests warm and provide an eye-catching focal point for the evening.

Tabletop fireplaces look great on a patio deck by the pool.

6. Hanging

A close up photo of a black hanging fireplace.

I’m not wild about the hanging style because it has that futuristic vibe. Here’s an example:

7. Two-Sided

A two sided fire palce in a luxurious mansion.

This is a cool type because two rooms can enjoy it at the same time:

D. Fireplace Design Options

Once you select a fuel type and mounting option, it’s time to think about the design of the fireplace itself.

Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes. They are constructed from a wide range of materials, chosen both for looks and functionality. And then there are additional design features like your fireplace mantel and the chimney/flue (if required).

All of these design elements combine together to give your fireplace its overall aesthetic appeal, whether that’s rustic, modern, or something in between.

Fireplace Styles

The style of fireplace you choose largely dictates its dimensions as well as the materials used.

The options for fireplace styles are nearly endless. As mentioned above, they span the range from traditional to modern designs.

Remember that the fuel type and mounting option you choose largely dictates the overall style of your fireplace.

Wood-burning fireplaces with chimneys are often much larger and more imposing than electric or gas fireplaces.

1. Traditional Fireplace Style



Think of the type of fireplace you’d expect in a log cabin — that’s a traditional fireplace.

Usually constructed from stones or bricks, these fireplaces bring nature into the home, creating a rustic, cozy atmosphere.

Most traditional fireplaces are the wood-burning variety. However, a wood-burning fireplace can easily be outfitted with an electric or gas fireplace insert if desired.

2. Contemporary Fireplace Style

image6 1

Source: Houzz

A contemporary fireplace is defined by sharp, well-defined lines and universal appeal.

Though they look great in just about any home, they’re best suited for homes with equally chic, stylish décor.

Most fireplaces with contemporary designs utilize traditional materials such as brick or stones, yet do so in an elegant fashion.

3. Modern Fireplace Style



The modern style of fireplace takes the contemporary style up another notch.

These fireplaces generally ditch traditional stone and brick materials altogether in favor of more modern materials like marble and glass.

Modern fireplaces are notable for their clean lines and futuristic appeal. Many look more like art pieces than a home heating solution.

Fireplace Dimensions

The shape and size of your fireplace depends on three main factors: the fuel type, the mounting option, and the location where you want it.

Fireplaces can range from two feet by two feet (and smaller!) up to massive creations that take up an entire room’s walls with chimneys spanning two stories.

Electric and gas fireplaces are generally on the smaller side of things while wood-burning fireplaces (and fireplace inserts) are on the large end.

Both Bon Tool Co. and Ask the Builder provide great resources on selecting the right size of fireplace, particularly for the wood-burning variety.

Fireplace Materials

Perhaps the most distinctive design element of the fireplace you buy is the material that covers the outside of it.

What’s the most common fireplace material?

Here’s a chart setting out what are the most popular fireplace exterior materials. It’s based on analysis of 172,176 rooms with fireplaces. Stone is clearly the most popular.

Chart showing the popularity of each fireplace exterior material by percentage.

Here’s the data specifically for fireplaces in all rooms:

  • Brick: 9.58%
  • Concrete: 2.91%
  • Metal: 4.65%
  • Plaster: 7.17%
  • Stone: 50.04%
  • Tile: 15.35%
  • Wood: 10.30%

Examples of the most common:

1. Ledgestone Fireplace

image7 1

Source: North Star Stone

Ledgestone fireplaces utilize small strips of material for a contemporary design.

2. Fieldstone Fireplace


Source: Standout Fireplace Designs

Fieldstones are natural-looking stones that, as their name implies, look like they were found in a field. They make for a homey, traditional-style fireplace. See more stone fireplaces here.

3. Brick with Wood Fireplace



Exposed brick gives your fireplace a timeless, traditional style. Combine with wood millwork and a wood mantel for an updated, contemporary design.

4. Concrete Fireplace


Source: Trueform Concrete

A concrete fireplace gives any home an edgy, industrial atmosphere. They look great paired with contemporary furnishings as well as in loft apartments with wood floors, lofted ceilings, and lots of natural light.

5. Metal Fireplace



Metal fireplaces provide either an old-world appeal or a new-school style, depending on specific material and design.

6. Marble Fireplace

image14 1

Source: Houzz

The material of choice for modern fireplaces, marble creates an upscale look that’s more than dramatic.

7. Plaster Fireplace


Source: Pinterest

Plaster is a cozy option for fireplace material that almost makes your fireplace look like it’s just coming out of the drywall.
This type of fireplace material is common in the American Southwest.

Fireplace Mantel

image16 1


The mantel, or mantelpiece, is the decorative framework often found around a fireplace.

Both built-in and stand-alone (as well as wall-mounted) fireplaces often utilize mantels, though a fireplace doesn’t necessarily need one.

In addition to providing that classic fireplace look, a fireplace mantel is also functional. It can serve as a shelf for decorations and other items.

Remember the following tips when buying a mantel for a fireplace:

  • Follow National Fire Code standards for a mantel on a wood-burning fireplace.
    • Minimum six-inch clearing between mantel and firebox.
    • An additional inch of space for every 1/8 mantel protrudes.
  • Select a mantel based on the dimensions and style of your fireplace for the best match.
  • Consider heart size (if applicable), room size, and overall décor for a balanced looking mantel.
  • Look for a mantel that works well with the room size, décor, and your fireplace style.
  • Simple wood mantels are the cheapest option. Elegant wood mantels with carvings are the mid-range option. Stone is the high-end option.

Fireplace Chimney and Flue


Source: Fine Art America

Wood-burning fireplaces are the only type of fireplaces that require a traditional chimney and flue.

Some gas fireplaces also require venting, but this is generally done through a pipe, rather than an actual chimney (unless you’re using a gas fireplace insert).

The most common types of chimneys for wood-burning fireplaces include:

1. Masonry Chimney

Chimney constructed from brick or stone to match fireplace surround. Often paired with a tile-lined flue.

2. Reinforced Concrete Chimney

Only seen on older homes. These chimneys are prone to cracking, making the design all but obsolete on new construction.

3. Metal-Lined Flue

Similar to the ventilation pipe on a gas fireplace, a metal-lined flue is usually a double-walled (sometimes triple-walled) metal pipe to vent out smoke.

More Details

Here are some other important factors to consider when buying a fireplace.

A. Heat Requirements

A big part of choosing what type of fireplace fuel type to choose, and how big of a fireplace you need, is to consider your heating needs.

A larger room or home needs a fireplace that produces more heat. On the other hand, an overlarge fireplace in a small room produces too much heat.

You should also consider other heating sources. Will your new fireplace be your sole source of heat? Or will it combine with other heating sources?

Note that while wood-burning fireplaces do produce copious amounts of heat, much of this escapes through the chimney because heat rises.

Gas, gel, ethanol, and even electric fireplaces are actually more efficient. Though less heat overall is produced, much more of it is directed into the room.

B. Room and Location

Which room will your new fireplace be located in? Where will your fireplace be located within that room?

The place you want your fireplace located dictates what type of fireplace to buy. Wood-burning fireplaces are best installed near exterior walls. Other fuel types can be used on interior walls.
Want a fireplace that you can move around as you decorate (and even take with you when you move)? Then a free-standing fireplace over a built-in insert is a smart choice.

The living room is one of the most common rooms for a fireplace. However, smaller electric and gas models make them a good option for dining rooms, primary bedrooms, offices, and even outdoors as well.

C. Fireplace Installation

Fireplace installation ranges from simply plopping down a free-standing electric fireplace to spending weeks on remodeling your home for a brand-new wood-burning fireplace.

In the middle of the installation spectrum is a gas fireplace. These must be connected to a gas line. If you have one, the process is simple. Hiring a professional to install a gas line is more expensive and time-consuming.

Building and installing a wood-burning fireplace almost always takes a professional. Some models of gas fireplaces can be installed on your own. Many electric fireplaces also require minimal installation and can be done alone.

D. Fire Safety

All fireplaces, but especially wood-burning fireplaces, must be used with utmost caution. Follow proper fire safety guidelines to protect the safety of yourself, your family, and your home.

Fire safety starts with the type of fireplace you buy. Electric fireplaces are hands down the safest option for families with children or pets. Gas, gel, and ethanol are also safer for children and pets.

Wood-burning fireplaces, on the other hand, can be very dangerous if used improperly. Make sure to buy a quality fireplace screen and gate, whether or not you have children or pets.

Wood-burning fireplaces must be cleaned out regularly. In addition to regular cleaning, you should have a professional clean and inspect your chimney on an annual basis.

Those installing a gas fireplace should hire a professional to connect it to their gas line, even though doing so can seem like an easy DIY task.

Your gas fireplace should also be outfitted with an oxygen-depletion sensor (also known as a safety pilot). The device automatically shuts the gas off if too much carbon monoxide builds up.
Along these same lines, you should install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home if using a gas fireplace.

E. Fireplace Cost and Budget

The cost of your fireplace depends on many factors.

Depending on the type of fireplace you select, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars all the way up to $10,000 or more.

We’ve found that most electric, gas, gel, and ethanol fireplaces are somewhere in the range of $500 to $2,500. Free-standing and wall-mounted units are generally more affordable than built-in inserts.

The most expensive option is a wood-burning fireplace, especially one constructed from scratch. The remodeling, construction, and installation costs of a new wood-burning fireplace can easily add up to more than $10,000, for even a simple model.

It’s also important to consider the cost of fireplace installation for electric, gas, gel and ethanol models. Certain models can be installed by yourself, but you need a professional to install others, adding more money to your bill.

If you buy a wood-burning fireplace that requires an annual professional inspection, it’s important to factor those costs into your total. They generally run around $100 to $250 per year.

Gas fireplaces also require an annual professional inspection. These cost around $100 to $150 per year.

Top Brands of Fireplaces

Wood Fireplaces

Pacific Energy, Enerzone, Napoleon and Osburn are manufacturers whose efficient designs burn cleaner without sacrificing warmth. These units exhaust smoke up a flue or through an outside wall.


Napoleon NZ8000 High Country 8000 Wood Burning Fireplaces.

Source: Woodland Direct

The Napoleon NZ8000 High Country 8000 Wood Burning Fireplace has a host of features, including a large firebox to keep the heat going for a long time. It has Zero Gravity glass to allow for independent functioning of the glass and screen door, dampers that close completely when the fireplace is not in use and can open without drawing in smoke.

The price point for this fireplace is $13,724.00 and it comes with a lifetime warranty.


Osburn Horizon Wood Burning Fireplace.

Source: Woodland Direct

The Osburn Horizon offers clean, efficient heat for your home. The unit’s 4.28-cubic-foot firebox can hold up to 60 pounds of wood, allowing you to heat large spaces in your home for up to 10 hours.

This model is EPA certified and has a high-performance blower that circulates warm air throughout your home. The model is priced at $6,999 and comes with an optional forced air kit for an additional $1,000.

The QuadraFire 3100 Free-Standing Wood Burning Stove

Don’t let the name fool you, this type of stove is not for cooking. The QuadraFire 3100 is designed for both convenience and efficiency; the precision airflow management system allows you to adjust the amount of air coming into the firebox with just the turn of a knob.

The unit has a steel, heavy-duty steel hinge that allows you to easily open and close the door while still providing an airtight seal when closed. The fully welded brick-lined firebox provides added durability and longevity so you can enjoy your stove for years to come. It is available in medium (two cubic feet), large (three cubic feet), and extra large (four cubic feet). Pricing starts at $2,179.

Gas Fireplaces

Duluth Forge Vent-Free Fireplace

Duluth Forge Vent Free Natural Gas/Propane Fireplace.

Source: Wayfair

The Duluth Forge Vent-Free Fireplace is a great choice for anyone looking to add style and function to their home. It’s easy to install and comes with everything you need to get started. 

This ventless fireplace has a variety of colors to choose from and is made from cast iron and steel. It puts out 26,000 BTUs of heat to warm 1,350 square feet of space. The average temperature range on this unit is between 75° and 85° Fahrenheit. It features a built-in oxygen depletion sensor that automatically turns off the fire if there’s not enough oxygen in the room. 

It also has an adjustable thermostat so you can control how much heat you want out of it at any given time. It works with bohemian, modern, antique, minimal or any other style of décor. 

Bluegrass Living 55-inch Black Ventless Natural Fireplace

The Bluegrass Living 55-inch Black Ventless Natural Fireplace is a great choice if you’re looking for a ventless gas fireplace. This black fireplace features a natural gas log set and comes with remote control. The maximum BTU output is 32,000 BTUs, which is more than enough to heat up to 1,500 square feet of space.

This fireplace operates off of natural gas only, so there’s no need for an electrician. It has four modes: High Heat Mode, Low Heat Mode, Fan Only Mode, and Remote Control Mode. You can also adjust the flame height and intensity using the remote control or by using the buttons on top of the mantelpiece. The price range of this unit is $1,469.00.

Electric Fireplaces

Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace


Source: Modern Blaze

Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace is designed for built-in installation but can also be mounted on a wall. The firebox features two heat settings (750W/1500W) with a thermostat (68-88° Fahrenheit). The flames are controlled by six different color options and three flame speed settings.

The unit operates on 1,500 Watts with 5,000 BTUs to heat up to 400 square feet of space. The price is $1,219 and you get everything you need for an easy installation.

Silverton Electric Fireplace

The Silverton electric fireplace is a great option for those looking for a traditional look with modern features. Not only does it come with LED lighting, but it also has adjustable thermostat settings and an easy-to-use remote control.

It has adjustable thermostat settings from 72 – 99° Fahrenheit. You can mount this fireplace on either the left or right side of your wall so that it suits your room’s décor. This fireplace is great for use in any room in your home because it looks great and is affordably priced at $799.

Where to Buy Fireplaces Online

Now that you know the details of all the fireplace options available, here’s our selection of the best online merchants to buy a fireplace and accessories from:

Best Type of Fireplace for Various Purposes

Homes Without Chimneys

A house roof with chimney.

Even if your home doesn’t have a chimney, you can still enjoy all the perks of a fireplace. There are several types of ventless fireplaces on the market today. Ventless gas and gel fuel fireplaces are some of best options available.

“Ventless fireplaces are indoor fireplace pipes fueled by gas, such as propane.” says Bob, a HVAC tech. “They tend to exhaust a low level of gases, so there’s no need for a chimney or fuel.” 

Gel fuel fireplaces use a special alcohol-based gel that’s completely smokeless! These vent-free fireplaces are easy to use and eco-friendly. Both ventless gas and gel fuel fireplaces are great options for any home without a chimney.


In a small space like a bedroom, it’s best to use a fireplace that gives off limited heat. Electric fireplaces are a great choice. They tend to be low-maintenance and can usually be operated via remote.

You can opt for a wall-mounted or recessed electric fireplace. Recessed electric fireplaces are one of the best options for rooms that get a lot of traffic. Another option is to frame the fireplace in the wall.

Outdoor Decks and Patios

Beautiful outdoor deck with bushes.

Gas and wood-burning fireplaces are both solid options for the outdoors. With a gas fireplace, you’ll enjoy clean burning fuel that’s quick to light. Wood-burning fireplaces are an affordable option that offer a terrific experience.

No matter what type of fireplace you decide on, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. There are fire pits, see-through outdoor fireplaces, and even fire tables. You can compare a range of options and choose the perfect fireplace for your deck or patio.


An energy-efficient fireplace is great for the environment and your wallet. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, check out pellet fireplaces. Also called pellet stoves, these free-standing fireplaces can provide plenty of heat.

“Pellet stoves run on a thermostat, so it’s easy to regulate temperature,” says Trevor Andruss of Embers Living. “You have complete temperature control.” 

These fireplaces have been popular in Europe for years. Now, they’re starting to catch on in the United States. They’re easy to operate and work with many types of fuel.


A woman trying to warm herself on an electric fireplace.

If you want a fireplace that will make your home warm and cozy, a ventless gas fireplace is a terrific choice. When you opt for one of these fireplaces, none of the heat from your fire will escape. All that heat will be recirculated across your home.

Another good option is a wood-burning fireplace with a wood insert. These inserts can improve the efficiency of any wood-burning fireplace. They provide an impressive 80% heating efficiency.

RVs and Campers

Electric fireplaces let you enjoy the benefits of fireplaces and RV travel. All RV fireplaces are electric, and there are many options to choose from. Many fireplaces are free-standing so that you can move them around your RV.

You can also use electric fireplaces to heat a camper. Lots of the fireplaces you’ll find will be light and portable. Of course, wall-mounted fireplaces are also an option.

Small Spaces

A small house with glass windows.

Don’t have much room? An electric stove fireplace can work in any small space. These small, compact fireplaces are easy to use and can be very realistic.

A freestanding electric stove fireplace won’t overheat a cramped space. You can pick and choose the best location for your fireplace. Many stove fireplaces are also remote operated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions about fireplaces.

Can regular fireplaces be removed?

Yes, fireplace removal is typically possible. Cost is dictated by the degree of work required. Some homeowners opt to just remove selected parts of the system, while others choose pricier total demolition.

Some jobs can be completed for under $1,000, while complete removals can run close to five figures. Factors affecting the price include the size and number of fireplaces, materials, the intricacy of finish and structural considerations.

Can fireplaces be painted?

Yes, it is safe to paint a fireplace inside and out. For the exterior, most experts recommend an acrylic latex paint heat-rated for up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Some manufacturers make paints for stone, brick, and stucco that should also work provided the heat rating checks out.

For inside the firebox, a high-heat paint that can withstand 1200 degrees Fahrenheit or more is safest. Recommended application methods are spray or a roller made for textures.

Can fireplace ashes be used in the garden?

Ashes from wood fires have multiple garden applications. A light sprinkle on a vegetable garden will add lime and potassium. As they are a highly alkaline substance, ashes should not be used on plants that need acidic soil, like potatoes, peppers and blueberries.

But a little mixed into a compost pile will do wonders for a whole host of other plants, including asparagus, swiss chard and broccoli.

Can fireplace ashes be recycled?

Ashes cannot be recycled in the conventional curbside pickup sense. However, there are many ways to reuse them. In addition to fertilizing the garden, they can be used to remove algae from ponds, as a natural insect repellent, and in household cleaning.

In snowy climates, fireplace users often use ash instead of salt or sand on icy walks. And industrious, adventurous souls can use wood ash to make lye and soap.

Are gas fireplaces good for heating a home?

Yes, a gas fireplace can be an attractive and important part of a home’s zone heating system. Some units can easily heat 1,000-1,400 square feet. Except in the very smallest of dwellings, it’s not usually recommended that a fireplace be the sole source of heat, simply because it’s hard to heat every corner of a home evenly or well.

But a fireplace could certainly be the primary source in the main living areas, with a secondary source for bedrooms or far-flung spaces.

Are gas fireplaces vented?

Gas fireplaces are available both vented and unvented. An unvented model will transfer more of its heat into the building, but the tradeoff is that it transfers more carbon monoxide, as well. A vented model is recommended in most settings; it’s still a highly efficient heating source, with fewer safety concerns.

Are gas fireplaces expensive to run? How much do they cost per month to run?

Gas fireplaces are considered inexpensive to run. Exact costs will depend on two main factors: the output of the unit in question, usually measured in BTUs, and the current cost of fuel. Whether the unit is meant to be heat-producing or decorative can also factor in. Since natural gas is roughly three times less expensive than propane, a natural gas unit will cost less to run.

Given that gas prices fluctuate by region and over time, it’s impossible to give an exact figure that will be accurate everywhere. But manufacturers’ estimates tend to run on the order of 40 to 50 cents per hour of operation for a 40,000BTU unit that can heat around 1,200-1,400 square feet of living space.

Can gas fireplaces be removed?

Yes, gas fireplaces can be removed. It’s reasonably simple to remove freestanding direct-vented units; the unit will be removed, the gas and electric will be dealt with, and any holes in the wall will be patched and refinished inside and out. If there is a chimney, the project becomes more complex and expensive, depending on the type of installation.

How much does a new gas fireplace cost? How much to install it?

On average, a gas fireplace runs $1,500-$2,500. The price varies based on whether it’s an insert, direct-vented or unvented model. It can cost more to install a unit than it does to buy it; this depends on whether there is an existing gas line; whether it’s an insert or some construction is needed; and whether it’s direct-vented or requires the construction of a chimney.

This means that installation charges can run from $500 to $2,500 and up.

How hot do fireplaces get?

Fireplaces can reach temperatures of between 700 and 1,000 degrees. That’s why they’re such a great way to keep your home nice and warm. The amount of heat your fireplace produces depends on how large it is and what type of fuel it uses. For example, a wood-burning fireplace is usually much hotter than a gas or electric fireplace.

How long do gas fireplaces last?

Gas fireplaces last between 10 and 15 years, on average. However, the quality of the fireplace itself, how it was installed, and how well you maintain it could impact its lifespan, too. Gas fireplaces that are well-maintained tend to last longer.

How are fireplaces built?

Fireplaces are built by digging out an area of around three feet. Then a cement footer is poured for the firebox. The firebox is also made of cement and then laid with brick or a metal insert box. A masonry smoke chamber is added to allow smoke and fumes to escape.

The liner is usually made of terracotta tiles and extends upward past the top of the chimney. A chimney crown is added to the top using bricks and an expansion joint. This is the standard practice for a masonry fireplace, which is still the most common in most homes.

Do gas fireplaces turn off automatically?

Gas fireplaces use a safety shut-off valve that activates if the pilot light goes out. Many newer gas fireplaces also have an automatic shut-off feature that will turn it off if it gets too cold, or if a buildup of carbon monoxide is detected.

Can electric fireplaces cause fires?

Electric fireplaces don’t produce actual flames, which makes them one of the safest fireplaces available. These fireplaces won’t cause fires in your home unless there’s an electrical short of some kind.

When were fireplaces invented?

In 1624, French architect Louis Savot installed a heat-circulating fireplace in the Louvre. This new invention allowed air to be drawn through passages underneath the hearth and allowed the heat to discharge into the room through a grill located in the mantel. During the Victoria era, fireplaces became much more common in homes.

Do fireplaces add value?

Fireplaces may increase the value of your home by as much as 6-12 percent in terms of resale value.

Do fake fireplaces give off heat?

Most fake or decorative fireplaces don’t give off any heat. However, some models do produce the same amount of heat as a space heater. Look for models with a heating element if you want your fake fireplace to produce a small amount of heat.